Boston Celtics starting shooting guard Avery Bradley underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in May, during the playoffs, in order to correct an instability in his shoulder that was causing painful dislocations.
However, Chris Forsberg of ESPN reports that Bradley required the same procedure on his right shoulder, and that the arthroscopic stabilizing shoulder surgery performed Tuesday was a success. The good news is that Bradley will likely be healthy when both surgeries are completely rehabilitated, the bad news is that he is unlikely to be ready for the start of the upcoming season.
The Celtics are preparing for the inevitable fact that Bradley is likely not going to be able to play for the beginning of the season, and Forsberg indicated that the C's are attempting to receive Courtney Lee from Houston in a sign-and trade to fill the void.
Although this is a viable backup plan for not having Bradley at the starting spot right away, it is still unclear just how long Boston will have to go with out their youngest starter and perhaps best defender besides Kevin Garnett.
Although there has been little detail about the extent of the procedure that has been performed on Bradley, we can assume it is some variation of an arthroscopic shoulder stabilization in order to address the issue of his dislocations.
This surgery, as described by Dr. Millett of The Steadman Clinic in Colorado, helps to repair loose or torn ligaments that will help to stabilize the shoulder in order to repair any damage and prevent future dislocations from occurring.
Although these surgeries can range greatly in the amount of repair that needs to be accomplished, the American Society of Shoulder & Elbow Therapists (ASSET) reports a single generalized rehabilitation process for any level of the surgery. The ASSET indicates that it requires approximately 24 weeks of post operative rehabilitation in order to return to the athlete's sport.
Although it can be a quicker recovery for some athletes, it is safe to say that Bradley will likely fall around this range due to the high intensity play and physicality that he puts forth in the NBA.
Since the NBA season usually begins in the last week of October, which is only around 15 weeks away, it is fairly certain that Bradley will not be ready to return at the start of the season.
The total 24-week rehabilitation that the ASSET suggests would put Bradley's return date on December 25. However, I believe it is likely that the Celtics may be a bit conservative in returning him to the game in order to insure that his shoulders remain healthy for the season.
Therefore, it is likely that Bradley will not return to the starting lineup until early January, unless his rehab progresses quicker than expected and he has no significant setbacks. Bradley should be able to return the starting lineup at the same level he displayed at the end of last season, however the fact that he will be missing significant time makes his back up even more important this year.
Although Jason Terry will be a reliable reserve guard coming off the bench and has the ability to start, it is likely that the Celtics will still look to acquire another guard that could start in order to maintain Terry's role of coming off the bench.
Boston will be hoping to get a deal done with Houston in order to land Lee soon in order to address this need, or they will be forced to move Terry into the starting lineup and hope that reserve guard E'Twaun Moore will develop into the solid role player they believe he has the potential become.
The Celtics will need help in order to fill the void that Avery Bradley will leave in the wake of his absence, however it appears that these surgeries will likely allow Bradley to return to the court with a much lower risk of future dislocations.
It is unfortunate to lose him in the short term, but Bradley's long-term health is much more important for the Celtics hopes of winning another championship. Hopefully he will be able to stay on track with his rehabilitation program in order to return to his team as soon as possible.